Nevada Revised Statute (NRS 33.018), defines domestic violence as:
- Domestic violence occurs when a person commits one of the following acts against or upon the person’s spouse or former spouse, any other person to whom the person is related by blood or marriage, any other person with whom the person is or was actually residing, any other person with whom the person has had or is having a dating relationship, any other person with whom the person has a child in common, the minor child of any of those persons, the person’s minor child or any other person who has been appointed the custodian or legal guardian for the person’s minor child:
(a) A battery. (b) An assault. (c) Compelling the other person by force or threat of force to perform an act from which the other person has the right to refrain or to refrain from an act which the other person has the right to perform. (d) A sexual assault. (e) A knowing, purposeful or reckless course of conduct intended to harass the other person. Such conduct may include, but is not limited to:
- Destruction of private property.
- Carrying a concealed weapon without a permit.
- Injuring or killing an animal.
(f) A false imprisonment. (g) Unlawful entry of the other person’s residence, or forcible entry against the other person’s will if there is a reasonably foreseeable risk of harm to the other person from the entry.
If you find yourself faced with any of the above scenarios, an order for protection may be for you or someone you love. An order for protection is a written court order that is designed to stop violent and harassing behavior and to protect you and your children from the abuser. Orders for protection can also be known as protection orders or restraining orders.
There are three types of orders in Nevada: An emergency protective order is an order that you can request by telephone if you are the victim of domestic violence, and the abuser is arrested and put into jail. It lasts for up to one week until a court hearing can be held. To get an emergency protective order, you must call within 12 hours of the abuser’s arrest. Emergency protective orders are convenient because you do not have to appear in court. You can call a justice of the peace court or district court and they will issue the order over the phone and have the police serve the abuser with the order while s/he is in jail. A judge should be available 24 hours/day, 7 days/week in counties whose population is 52,000 or more; in a county with less than 52,000 people, it is optional (not mandatory) for the county to make judges available 24 hours per day.*
A temporary order for protection is an order that can be granted based on your testimony or any evidence you present to the court in your application for a temporary or extended order for protection. If a judge finds that you or your family are in danger of being harmed, s/he can grant a temporary order within 1 judicial day of receiving your application. A temporary order can last up to 30 days. However, if you file for an extended order at the same time that you file for the temporary order (or at any time while the temporary order is in effect), the temporary order will last until the date of your hearing for an extended order (which could be up to 45 days from the date you file for the extended order.
An extended order for protection is awarded by a judge only after a hearing in which you and the abuser each have an opportunity to present evidence and tell your different sides of the story. An extended order lasts for up to one year. The expiration date should be on the first page of the order.
Oftentimes, it is confusing understanding the differences between civil and criminal cases regarding domestic violence. In a civil domestic violence action, you are asking the court to protect you from the person abusing you. You are not asking the court to send that person to jail for committing a crime. However, if the abuser violates the civil court order, he may be sent to jail for the violation. In a civil case, you are the person bringing the case against the abuser and (in most circumstances), you have the right to withdraw (drop) the case if you want to.
The criminal law system handles all cases that involve violations of criminal law such as harassment, assault, murder, theft, etc. A criminal complaint involves the abuser being charged with a crime. In a criminal case, the prosecutor (also called the district attorney) is the one who has control over whether the case against the abuser continues or not. It is the county/state who has brought the case against the abuser, not the victim. It is possible that if you do not want the case to continue (if you do not want to “press charges”), the prosecutor might decide to drop the criminal charges but this is not necessarily true. The prosecutor can also continue to prosecute the abuser against your wishes and could even issue a subpoena (a court order) to force you to testify at the trial.
To obtain an Order of protection, the correct forms must be filed with the appropriate Court. A Judge reviews the application for the Protective Order and does one of three things; the Judge 1) Signs the Order granting protection; 2) Denies the Order and does NOT grant protection; or 3) Orders a hearing to determine whether the Order should be granted. Once a Judge signs an Order of protection and dependent upon the type of Order granted, the Adverse Party may need to be notified before the Order goes into effect.
For additional assistance please contact an attorney, The Legal Aid Center of Southern Nevada or the Family Division of the District Court where you reside.
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